Tag Archives: mental health

LibLink: Norman Lamb: Decades of not understanding Mental Health has left too many Unhelped – but we are getting there

Norman Lamb, Liberal Democrat Health Minister, has written for the Huffington Post about the changes he’s been trying to implement in mental health care and treatment.

First he talked about services for young people:

Recent provisional data shows that hospital admissions for self-harm for young people aged 11-19 are at their highest for five years. Maybe it is better reporting, maybe it is a result of the added stresses young people face. But these figures represent real young people and their families and the serious emotional distress they face.

Some find it difficult to talk about their mental health, which is why it is so important for those who can to be open about the problems they have faced. Don’t underestimate how important it is to encourage others to feel they can talk about it. In a way, it’s the most important thing.

I want young people to get good and compassionate personalised care. I want them to be given both physical and mental health care which helps them in their time of need but also gives them techniques and support to help prevent or manage further problems.

That’s why, earlier this year, I convened a Taskforce to advise us on improvements to mental health services for children and young people. This is the first time a group of experts from across, health, education and social care have come together to focus on making sure every young person gets the care they need. Crucially, we are also involving young people in this work so they can give their views on what they want from services. And it’s my aim that services don’t just stop at the youngsters themselves – services need to support entire families to deal with the challenges of living with mental illness.

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Nick Clegg announces £150 million to help young people with eating disorders

Nick, Ibrahim and Norman in Brent mental health visitYesterday, Nick Clegg and Norman Lamb visited a youth centre in Brent where they announced £150 million was being invested in services to help young people with eating disorders. From the BBC:

Mr Clegg will say he wants to see services transformed, with the focus shifted from expensive institutional care to targeted community-based provision.

Eating disorders cost the NHS around £200m a year, and the bill for in-patient care averages out at £98,750 per admission.

From 2012 to 2013, there were 2,560 hospital admissions for eating disorders in England – a rise of 8% on the previous year.

One in five of those taken into hospital with an eating disorder was admitted and discharged on the same day.

But one in 17 stayed in hospital for longer than six months.

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Opinion: Should we take the ‘Mental’ out of Mental Health?

Thanks to the work of Norman Lamb and other Liberal Democrat MPs, mental health has risen up the political agenda. For many years, NHS spending on mental health has lagged far behind that of other conditions and research into treatments for mental illness has also been disproportionately low.  MIND recently estimated that local authorities in England spend, on average, only 1.36 per cent of their total public health budgets on mental health – even though such problems cost the country an estimated £100 billion a year.

The aspiration of policymakers now is to achieve ‘parity of esteem’ between mental and physical health, the subject of much debate in the health policy world.

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LibLink: Nick Clegg – Mental health is top of our list

Nick Clegg with 2010 manifesto at Glasgow 2014 by Liberal DemocratsWriting in the Express, Nick Clegg explains why he is making mental health a top priority for the Liberal Democrats:

I have ­decided to make mental health one of my priorities for the next parliament, something no political party has ever done before.

I want this commitment to ­continue to overhaul our mental health services on the front page of the Liberal Democrat manifesto at the next election.

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Norman Lamb picks up an “Oscar” for his work on mental health

imageMinister of State for Care and Support Norman Lamb MP picked up the prize for the “Best Use of Evidence” at the Political Studies Association Annual Awards, dubbed the “Oscars of Westminster”. These were handed out at a dinner which took place last night at Church House, Westminster.

The MP for North Norfolk was presented with the award for his work on mental health by former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone in front of a packed audience of high-profile academics, politicians, political campaigners and journalists.

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Liberal Democrat members and ministers talk mental health for Channel 4’s political slot

Last week, the Liberal Democrats used their Political Slot with Channel 4 to talk about mental health. Norman Lamb said that it was “morally wrong and economically stupid” to deny people with mental ill health speedy treatment and talked about Liberal Democrat plans to introduce waiting time targets over the next five years.

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Lamb urges online therapy for teenagers with Depression and McInnes urges Scottish Government to improve mental health services for young people

Norman Lamb has been talking to the Times (£)  about different ways of helping children and teenagers with Depression. This could include accessing therapy via an internet app. This would augment, to replace traditional face to face therapy:

MPs on the health select committee said this month that mental health services for children and teenagers were inadequate from prevention to crisis care, as they reported increasing concerns over cyberbullying and self-harm websites.

Mr Lamb wants to use online tools to solve some of these problems, including computerised cognitive behavioural therapy, online counselling and peer support networks for the mentally ill.

“If you’re a teenager and your world revolves around digital access, we must make sure you get access to therapy online. So these programmes are being developed. We’ve got a taskforce looking at how we can modernise children and young people’s mental health and that’s one of the key elements to it,” he told The Times.

“What I want to achieve is a much more seamless service that allows you access online, face to face or over the telephone, whichever is appropriate.”

Some programmes had already been shown to work, he said. “These platforms are evidence-based so the risk is very low that they’re not appropriate. Some people may need more than that so you have to have access to a gradation of different type of service.”

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Nick Clegg taking questions on mental health on Mind’s Facebook page today

nick clegg live tweet town hall 1st may 2014In a Facebook first, Nick Clegg will be taking questions on mental health over on Mind’s Facebook page this lunchtime, starting at 12:30 pm.

He put this brief video on his own page to explain why he thinks this is important and is quoted on Mind’s website:

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Norman Lamb writes… NHS needs an extra £1.5 billion

nhs sign lrgFor too long mental health has been seen as a second-class issue in the NHS and I am determined to change that.

Today I’ve called for up to an extra £1.5 billion to be invested in the NHS next April. A significant amount of that money would go towards improving mental health services, especially for children and young people.

At our party conference in Glasgow, Nick Clegg said the Liberal Democrats will spend at least £1bn extra on health and care in each year of the next parliament, including £500m each year for mental health.

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Norman Lamb writes … Improving mental health services for children and young people

healthreportImagine for a minute you are a teenager, perhaps working hard for your A-level exams, struggling with relationships and all the social and academic pressures of school.  And on top of this, you might be among the 1 in 10 of your peers suffering from depression, an eating disorder, or another mental health problem.

But if mental health services are the “Cinderella service” of our NHS, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) are the Cinderella Service of Cinderella Services.  Effective support for a young person experiencing a mental health problem can have a transformative effect on the course of their entire life.  But the current CAMHS system too often is woefully inadequate.

Earlier this year, I launched a CAMHS Task Force involving experts in the field, and also young people who have experience of mental health problems themselves.  The Task Force will look at how we can modernise children’s mental health service, making the best use of the resources available, and reforming services to end the “cliff edge” which occurs when young people move from under-18 care to adult services. It will look at how we can improve access – including through the use of exciting new online services – and how we can reduce the stigma of mental health services.

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Paul Burstow MP writes…Putting mental health at the top of the agenda

Mental health is so often in the news for the wrong reasons its good to finally have a few things to cheer about. Last month, though little noticed, Nick Clegg announced the start of a genuinely preventative programme in mental health with the launch of a series of front line mental health support pilots for blue light workers. People working in the emergency services experience some of the highest levels of work related stress, so it is absolutely the right place to start. And with poor mental health costing UK businesses £26 billion a year, taking mental health seriously in the workplace needs to be on every employers’ agenda – with government leading the way.

This followed on from ministerial commitment from Norman Lamb to continue funding for Time to Change, the campaign to end mental health stigma, and a rallying call for all FTSE 100 companies to sign up. It is a clear statement that good mental health should matter to all of us, and its heartening to see that companies like Royal Mail, Marks and Spencer and Barclays have already come on board.

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Norman Lamb warns against demonising people with mental ill health at Hallowe’en

We’ve always had great fun at Hallowe’en in our house. We love the guisers (none of this new fangled Trick or Treat stuff, if you please). My husband loves carving the pumpkin even if he isn’t as elaborate as some. My Facebook timeline has been full of everything from Pumpkin Daleks to the delicious irony of an actual Cinderella carriage. I have some very creative friends.

The Teenager is spending Hallowe’en with her friends and will be headed out in vampire dress leaving us to greet the scores of little devils, ghouls, zombies, fairies, princesses, ghosts and animals who will come …

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Opinion: Alice vs the system: Lessons from a lifetime of “help” from public services #3

“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

This is the third in the series about Alice and her experience of ‘the system’ and covers her life as a young adult. The first article, introducing the series, can be found here and the second, on her adoption and early life, here.

It’s taken me longer to write this article than I thought it would. Things have been difficult for Alice over the past few months; she has recently come off her meds and we’re dealing with the fallout (my contribution is largely indirect, trying to support my mum), and I haven’t had the heart to bring myself to write about it. David Cameron’s “family test” fired me up again though.

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Roundtable talks on new mental health waiting time standards

Phrenology head - mental health - Some rights reserved by evansvilleToday Nick Clegg and Norman Lamb held roundtable talks on mental health services in Sheffield.

Representatives from the local NHS discussed the impact of mental health conditions being brought into line with other NHS services, with the introduction of the first ever waiting time standards.

For the first time, from April 2015, most patients needing talking therapies – for conditions like depression – will be guaranteed the treatment they need in as little as six weeks, with a maximum wait of 18 weeks.

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Mental health – an issue whose time came at Glasgow

Nick clegg and norman lamb at scottish action mental health photo by dave radcliffe from the liberal democrats flickr streamBased on my circumambulation of the Glasgow conference corridors, there were three highlights concerning mental health:

1. Oxford West and Abingdon conference representative, Matthew Sumption made his maiden speech in the pre-manifesto debate. He’s currently taking time out from university study. But, my goodness me, what a brave young man he is. He basically stood up and said that he is undergoing treatment for mental illness.

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Praise for Norman Lamb’s work on mental health

Here is the video shown to Conference showcasing the work that Norman Lamb has done on mental health which was shown before his speech. 

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Norman Lamb MP writes… Thank you, Nick, for your commitment to mental health

No major British political party has ever had a leader more committed to the cause of tackling mental health discrimination than Nick Clegg.

Nick’s first ever question in Prime Minister’s Questions as party leader was about mental health services. And throughout my time as heath minister, I have always been able to rely on Nick’s unwavering support for my work: on promoting parity of esteem for mental health; on tackling unacceptable standards of crisis care and support for children and young people; and in general raising the profile of an area of health that for far too long has been …

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Nick Clegg on the “great liberal cause” to boost mental health care: “I want this smack bang on the front page of our next manifesto”

Nick clegg rally glasgow 2014Nick Clegg will announce a new Coalition Government policy in his leader’s speech to the Glasgow conference today – putting mental health provision on a par with physical health by announcing waiting time targets for people with mental health problems in England for the first time.

He’s expected to say later that “Mental health conditions are one of the last remaining taboos in our society, and yet they will affect one in four people” and to make three commitments:

  • “if you are waiting for talking therapies to help
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    Opinion: Suicide is preventable: we need a coordinated approach to reduce needless deaths

    The reporting of suicide in the national media usually only occurs when the deceased is rich, famous, or infamous. Yet it is approximated that one person dies from suicide every 40 seconds.  A report from the World Health Organisation,  Preventing Suicide – A Global Imperative,  examines the need for urgent action to reduce suicide rates by 10% within 6 years. A tall task: made difficult as worldwide the stigma attached to mental health and suicide itself, pushes the subject into the background: an ever-growing elephant in the room. In my case an ever growing Black Dog. That according to WHO is 800 000 people a year and an estimated 20 per person who has died has attempted suicide.

    In the United Kingdom, it is evident that more males than females commit suicide: in 2012, there were 4360 reported suicides of which 3400 were male, approximately 3 ½ times that of females. There is a strong reluctance with men to discuss their problems whether they be concerned with mental health or other situational circumstances. The highest rates are with men over 30 years old.

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    Norman Lamb announces task force to tackle “unfit for purpose” mental health services for children and young people

    Norman Lamb, Minister for Consumer AffairsWhen your child suffers from a mental health problem, be it crippling, life limiting anxiety, devastating Depression, an eating disorder, schizophrenia or any other condition which causes them suffering and distress, you want them diagnosed and treated quickly and close to home. You want them to have that support for as long as they need it, not for it to be abruptly withdrawn at a particular date on the calendar.

    There is nothing more devastating for a parent than to see your child suffer. You need to …

    photo by: bisgovuk
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    Opinion: What we leave behind

    Robin Williams by Eva RinaldiThe death of Robin Williams is another tragic loss that at first assumptions has its roots in depression. He joins other illustrious public figures who took their own lives due in no small part to the Black Dog: Tony Hancock; Kurt Cobain; Stuart Adamson; Lord Sutch and Alexander McQueen. If it were not for a last minute change of mind, Stephen Fry in 1995: though it was again a narrow escape in 2012, when he downed pills and vodka, to be saved by the producer of the production he was filming. The Black Dog has little or no regard of fame, status, gender, or race: it is an equal opportunities illness that can strike anyone down, at anytime.

    The statistics on suicide and mental health are worrying. Some key facts from Mental Health Foundation state that suicide is the most common cause of death in men under 35. The Samaritans Suicide Statistics for 2014 state that there were 5981 (UK) suicides in 2012 an increase of 291 on 2010 figures. Suicide is also more prevalent in men than women.

    photos by: &
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    Clegg: “I want to see Britain become the world leader in the next breakthrough in mental health research”

    lib dem mental illness posterThe Lib Dems have unveiled plans to increase funding spent on mental health research by £50m, by 2020, as the party seeks to ensure it’s are treated as seriously as physical illnesses are. Here’s Nick Clegg:

    “Mental health issues have been treated as a sort of Cinderella service compared to physical health issues. I want people who are dealing with depression to be as effectively treated as if they had diabetes. That is why I want to see Britain become the world leader in the next breakthrough

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    LibLink: Tim Farron: Ending the silence

    Tim Farron has written an article for the Huffington Post about his new report on youth mental health services.

    He describes why and how his volunteer team produced the 127 page documents, motivated by the young people who came to his surgeries in desperate need of help:

    There are then events that have a particularly profound and lasting effect on me – the deaths of young people who have struggled with mental health conditions. These tragic events and the circumstances surrounding them have brought to light serious flaws in the way in which we support our young people and the need for

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    Opinion: Alice vs the System: Lessons from a lifetime of “help” from public services #2

    Bubbles. White rabbit. Photo by jay turnerThis is the second article in the series about Alice and her experience of “the system.” The first can be found here. Alice didn’t legally become my sister until she was 3. Alice’s adoption was the white rabbit, I guess, that we chased for the next three years.

    I was too young to fully understand the nature of the legal wrangles over her adoption. From conversations with my mum and dad, the issues were twofold. First, that as foster parents it wasn’t so easy to …

    photo by:
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    Paul Burstow writes … Depression touches all of our lives

    Depression #5 (staring at the park)Depression affects as many as 1 in 4 of us in our lifetimes, 1 in 10 adults at any one time. So the truth is, it affects all of us – whether we have experienced depression ourselves, or as partners, parents, children, siblings, friends and colleagues of those who have, and may well still suffer. The misery that it brings is cruel and pernicious – we know it shatters lives. But despite the fact that depression touches all of our lives, it is still far too poorly understood.

    As Minister for Mental Health, I awarded government funding to the Time to Change campaign to challenge the stigma of mental ill health and I’m pleased to say that the funding has continued throughout this parliament, and should, in my view, continue in the next. It has been very successful and has helped change mindsets in a range of fields. Celebrities and politicians have been brave enough to talk publicly about their own experiences of depression, and it has helped.

    photo by:
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    Check out Centre Forum’s Atlas of Variation on Mental Health

    Phrenology head - mental health - Some rights reserved by evansvilleYesterday, Paul Burstow told us about the report published by the Mental Health Commission he chaired.

    A few days earlier, Centre Forum produced a detailed and significant accompanying piece of work, an Atlas of Variation showing differences in prevalence, treatment and recovery from mental health conditions across England. The research, which you can read in full here,  shows huge variations in services in different parts of the country. Have a look and see where it’s a good place to have a mental illness and where you have to suffer unnecessarily as a result of poor provision.

    Its conclusion shows that despite the Government’s strategy to improve mental health treatment and services, this isn t yet being felt on the ground in many places:

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    Paul Burstow MP writes… Making the pursuit of happiness as important as GDP

    cf reportOver the past 12 months I have been working with mental health experts and the think-tank CentreForum, grappling with the challenge of how we can improve mental health care.

    Today sees the publication of our final report, The pursuit of happiness: a new ambition for our mental health. It reflects the expertise of many, makes a number of recommendations to transform not just health services, but the mental health of the nation, and it has one overarching call – that the pursuit of happiness should be a priority …

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    Alice vs The System: Lessons from a lifetime of “help” from public services #1

    Alice in Wonderland Central lark, New York. License Some rights reserved by -JvL-

    Down the Rabbit Hole

    “But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
    “Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
    “How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
    “You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”

    ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

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    Norman Lamb writes … we must fight for mental health to get the recognition it needs

    Mental health - bipolar -  Some rights reserved by Mrs TeePotIn my time as Mental Health minister, I have written here several times about the unacceptable disparity between mental health and physical health in our health system.  For far too long, physical health has been prioritised over mental health.

    Perhaps the most stark difference is in terms of what happens when you suffer a mental health crisis. If you break your arm or suffer a stroke, you know that you will be taken to A&E, where you will get access to the expertise you need.

    It’s very different in mental health. You may end up in a police cell or you may get sent a long way away from home to get a bed in a mental health unit. This would never be tolerated in physical health so why should it be acceptable in mental health?

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    Liberal Democrats put mental health on the agenda in Holyrood and Cardiff

    Phrenology head - mental health - Some rights reserved by evansvilleWe know that mental health has always been one of Nick Clegg’s top priorities. His first major speech as Liberal Democrat leader was on the subject. In the coalition, he, Paul Burstow and Norman Lamb have been pushing forward improvements to mental health care from making sure people in crisis see health professionals and not the inside of a Police cell, to a massive expansion of talking therapies to action to tackle the stigma that still exists.

    A friend of mine has recently had some time off work for Depression. She wrote on Facebook, and asked people to share, the following:

    What I do want to say is that until being off work for eight weeks with depression is regarded on equal footing with the same period of time off with a physical ailment of any kind ( from a hip replacement, to heart attack,stroke, badly broken limb, severe diabetes, or any of countless medical conditions ) then we will all suffer individually and as a society.

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